Thursday, November 30, 2006


It rained heavily yesterday. Ground saturated, etc. Today I finished work, and decided to head over to the new Costco and check 'er out. Today was opening day and I was swept up. I had stopped by yesterday, expecting them to have opened up early. They hadn't, but were running a nice little foyer operation where they were accepting memberships. I signed up.

Anyway, I got over by there, and saw a firetruck and a bit of a backup. I soldiered on, figuring a car had exploded or something. No way. A high voltage line, I'm guessing a 40 kilovolt, had fallen into a saturated drainage ditch. It must have just happened, because the power was still on and it was putting on a nice physics demonstration. It was causing the water on the ground to steam up, and it was sparking in the steam, so it looked like some kind of ball lightning looking thing.

And, of course, the power was out at Costco. Now me, were I a high powered retail giant, would make darn sure I had a generator hooked up. I would think the losses from one day of outage would be enough to justify it. But no, they just had enough for a little emergency lighting. Poor.

Compounding matters was the fact that this place is at 159th and Ravinia drive, and it was rush hour. And I was pointing in the wrong direction. I bet it took me an hour and a half to get home.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another online museum!

The toaster museum!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Having had pork chops for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to cook up a turkey breast for myself. All they had at the store were Jennie-O brand, or at least in a size that I felt like purchasing.

Disappointment #1- I thought it would be one large breast. Like a ham, but of turkey. This might be ignorance on my part. But it was a whole ribcage with two small breasts. Contributing to this was the fact that it must have been some barrel chested bird, because it wouldn't sit in the pan properly.

Disappointment #2- Included in the package was a convenient gravy pack. I can dig that, plenty of people like their gravy/stuffing tasting of organ meat. Not me, but I understand it. No, this was just a pint of the equivalent of canned turkey gravy.

So I paid for a ribcage and 8oz of brown flour water. With some meat attached. Which leads me to...

Disappointment #3- I knew it was going to be unimpressive given the brand available, but this thing was awful. Yes, I cooked it properly. Or close enough, at least. I dispensed with the various multi-temperature skin crisping methods, so the skin was unimpressive. But I don't really care about that. I care about juicy, flavorful meat. Oh, I got juicy, having cooked by temperature- cook it until it's about 160, and it runs up to 160-170 during the resting period. But it tasted like... nothing. Just flavorless. I would have been more satisfied getting a pound of chicken loaf from the deli and dumping turkey gravy on it.

Next time, I'm going to a butcher and getting a proper heirloom turkey. Or, if necessary, shooting one. I bet I can find a rafter of turkeys along the Cal-Sag, right?

But I did cook up some green bean casserole and Mom's stuffing recipe. That hit the spot.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Good Stuff

Also, don't bother trying the Reese's cookie that's Oreo-like, except its chocolate and peanut butter. Either eat a cup or an actual Oreo.


1) I have successfully transplanted the driver's seat and remote trunk release from the donor Dodge into the existing Dodge. Up next? Power locks, windows, mirrors and next spring, the engine and transmission. Project!

2) The blower motor went out on the main vehicle yesterday. Popped the old one out, and Autozone had a fine replacement in stock. Success!

3) Spent the last eight (8) hours installing a remote starter in a friend's Nissan.
3a) Worked on the first try!
3b) Oh, the wires!
3c) And electrical tape!
3d) Solder!

Congrats to everyone on everything, etc. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

South Park

I'd just like to reiterate that I think the Butters character on South Park is the funniest thing ever.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Show me the Money!

I deem it Shat-tastic! Dancing dancers, mispronounced words, overly-exuberant contestants. Everything you want in a show. The only other person alive who could possibly host this show and retain a similar feel, maybe, is Bill Clinton.

Denny Crane.

(PS- I love the idea of the Denny Crane character. But I absolutely hate that show and what they've done.

Monday, November 20, 2006


An Illinois Supreme Court Justice and ex-Bears kicker, Bob Thomas, sued a journalist for printing allegations of impropriety.

This guy from the Tribune takes issue with that. I normally like Phil Rosenthal, but this is over the top. As a journalist, he should understand all too well that having libel out there "on the record" is a bad thing. And all citizens, including those who serve the public as judges, should have unfettered access to the court system to address perceived wrongs to themselves. It's not intimidation, it's fighting the intimidation of an arrogant media that sees themselves as somehow above the rules the rest of us have to follow. You can't print something as a fact if it's not true. And shame on Rosenthal for defending the journalist in the way that he did.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Have you had the Wendy's Jalepeno Cheddar Double Melt? Good stuff.

Not as good as the Burger King Extreme Spicy Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich, however.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


So there is that "truth" out there that we live in rough times, economically, because housing is so much more expensive as a percentage of income than it has been in the past. I'm sure that's true if you correct for inflation. But what if you correct for square footage per person? Because it's also true that homes are getting larger and larger (140% in 60 years), while families are getting smaller. This is an odd way of looking at the numbers, but is illustrative, I think. If I knew where to look for better data, I could do better.

But it seems like these numbers balance out, or even make it cheaper to live nowadays. If you assume that we have choices over how much space we rent or buy, and choices over who we live with.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


This is a good roundup of the Cook County madness. Don't know if it's a rat, but I do smell something...

Confidential to Bill Beavers- "The Machine" is not a positive these days.

"Stroger, a Democrat, giggled as he told supporters he was going to bed for the night and would wake up today "just like Christmas" and celebrate."

That's because he's 12 and still believes in Santa Claus.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Went and voted today. Feel good about it. Voted for a few people I like (Jesse White and Lisa Madigan), and against a few people (Blago).

I was using that Google search thing where it suggests searches as you type (Google Suggest), and was typing in "viper antitheft" for the car alarm people. The first suggestion was "viper antivenom." And I got quite a chuckle out of that, picturing the situation some poor bastard is in when he has to make that search.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I switched to the Blogger Beta thing, and instantly forgot how to log on. Turns out that I needed to be putting in my whole email address.

Prepare for reviews of:

"The Aristocrats" - Overrated
"Nickled and Dimed" - Overrated
"Finding Nemo" - Albert Brooks is funny as a fish, but Ellen DeGeneres steals the show, also as a fish.

Well, what the heck:

The Aristocrats- Funny, but the profanity becomes tedious. And without the profanity-as-funny, it's got nothing. Funniest joke in the whole thing was when Michael McKeon was talking about the joke, and said "It's a joke that makes it's own gravy." Penn Jillette is a brilliant and funny guy, but he also reminds me of that kid in grade school who does things for attention, and then turns on the people who give him the attention. One of those "life surfer" types who are 4000% percent into whatever (usually unpopular) whim they are currently engaging in, only to drop it when other people like it. Don't get me wrong- the world needs people like that. But they can get annoying.

Nickel and Dimed- She's a fine writer for the most part (no need for the shit descriptions or the use of "abortion" as adjective), but her journalism and conclusions are on the thin side. While reading the book, more than once I heard Shatner's "Common People" going through my mind. Or the ever common stereotype of the perpetual student finally getting a job and realizing that real work is hard. This book cannot be taken as anything more than a few stories about a few people who work low paying jobs, and a final essay from an author (who apparently has a $20,000 mortgage interest deduction- she tells us) who got on Lexis-Nexis to find articles from the New York Times that support her thin conclusions. Because to attempt to take the book any more seriously than that requires the reader to look critically at some of her decisions and conclusions.

For example, she bemoans the "reality" that poor people must live in week to week or month to month hotels, or crash on a friend's couch for lack of better options. But then she says that there actually are plenty of yearly leases available, but she couldn't take them because of the constraints of her experiment. Which were to spend a month in each environment, working a low-paying job and paying rent and buying food. So it is possible, in fact, to do better than she experiences.

Similarly, she takes the lesser-paying of two jobs offered (and complains about it later as if she had no choice) because of some perceived slight from a coworker at the higher paying job, and because she felt friendly with one of the people at the lower paying place. She seems to prove the oft-heard opinion that some people remain poor because of bad decision making.

Everybody hates a tourist, and I don't like this book. Being poor sucks. How about coming up with a solution?

Finding Nemo- The graphics are beautiful, the story is your standard Disney dreck, and the acting is very good. Ellen DeGeneres plays a blue fish that has no short term memory, and is sort of ditzy anyway. There's a scene where her character is talking in her sleep, and I must admit that I laughed out loud.